I have decided to talk about this topic this month because of the current state of the chapter. The chapter’s meeting has suffered a steady decline of attendance of late despite our efforts in promoting and maintaining the attending member’s interest. As in life in general, one’s being is to serve a purpose. As life progresses, those purposes will change and eventually may cease altogether. If we cannot maintain that purpose and staying relevant then our existence is jeopardized. I am wondering if our Chapter is at such point.
As I know, the Association’s purpose and thus the Chapter’s, has been and still is to provide a venue for Structural engineers to gather to share knowledge, to learn about the profession to further one’s own competency, to network and to promote the profession to the general public. I believe that we are still doing well in sharing the knowledge with our monthly meeting presentations. However, the benefit of providing an avenue for members to earn Continuing Education credits to fulfill license registration requirement may have been lessened. We do have to compete with many more learning sources, which are much more convenience and more economical.
I still see many members who attend the monthly meetings regularly. I still see new members joining each month. Thus I believe that we are still providing a place of members to network, to meet new people and maintaining the relationships that they have had.
It is the last purpose that I think we have not done so well, in fact, none at all, promoting the Structural engineering profession to the public. It is an area in which we can do more. One way to do that is to do presentations to students in the area that the Chapter is located. Presentations to middle high school students, to high school students, to Community college students can be done by members of the Chapter. We can provide these presentations to give the students understanding of multiple branches of structural engineers that are available. We can help them to understand what it means to be a structural engineer. We can introduce them to the feelings of fulfillment and pride of achievement when seeing your project came to being.
Having a purpose, maintaining your relevance, is after all, one of our main purposes in life. Our Chapter’s survival is certainly dependent on it. I would certainly welcome your thoughts, comments and efforts.
So, see you at our monthly meeting!